All roads lead to written

Just fourteen days until Script Frenzy, and in preparation I’ve begun laying the groundwork for my little play. As I’ve done so, I’ve discovered that my medium for writing has changed considerably. Writing is a highly personal process, so the way it is done should be highly personal. Here are a few options I’ve tried out:

Microsoft Word

This one is obvious. And it’s fairly useful. I’m thinking most of you know about Word, so I’m going to skip it in favor of other things.

Google Docs

My generation uses this fairly often, but beyond that, I don’t think many people do. And it’s a shame because it can offer a lot of things that Word cannot.

Google Docs is a sort of free online word. This has many advantages: Because it’s stored on the internet, you can access it from any computer, and you can allow other users to have access to your documents, so if, say, you were co-writing a script, both of you could easily access the document.

The downside? If you don’t have internet, it is impossible to access your documents, so writing on a plane is out. The other, more subtle downside is that if you must be on the internet, it is inevitably easier to get distracted. If you’re less than a one-track mind. This could prove fatal.

Storyist

This one is a little lesser-known, and I’ve just begun using it. A program built specifically for large writing projects, it is an anal-retentive writer’s dream. Storyist is set up to allow a writer to create plotlines and detailed character sheets, then view as many of these elements as you like while you write.

The downside? It’s not likely to be a program you’ll have, and it costs $59 for the download version (though if you’re doing Script Frenzy you can get it for a discount right now).

Blogged

This is a medium I’ve found almost impossible for long-form writing. You can write in chapter-like installments, but this runs the risk of being ineditable and easily stolen if the material is any good.

The upside? You can get instant feedback from friends (and the occasional stranger), which can be a good tool for improving work and finding out what works well.

(Gasp!) Handwritten

I think this should be everybody’s first medium, though it seems like it’s disappearing more and more. And there’s good reason for that, but we’ll get to it in a minute. On the upside: Handwriting is personal. It attaches you to your story in a way typing things out simply doesn’t. Think: if you make a typo on your computer, you might be only remotely conscious of it, but if you’ve written and “e” in place of an “a” in your handwriting, you will be acutely aware (at that moment, I mean. The next day, all bets are off). Handwriting also goes slower, so it allows you to think about what you’re putting down.

The downside? It goes slower, so it is slower. Also, handwritten manuscripts must inevitably translated into type if you’re going to get them published ever. But if you’re just writing for yourself, then this is no issue.

Anybody have an unconventional way to write their story? Feel free to add one.

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One Response to All roads lead to written

  1. I tried using Google Docs but I never managed to really “get into it” I guess you could say. I think it was mostly a mental thing in that it intuitively felt weird to have a word processor online and not on my hard drive or something like that.

    I hate to admit that I don’t hand write anything anymore, partially because my penmanship is atrocious! However, it definitely feels like I’m closer to something I’ve created through pen and paper . It may be a dying art form but there’s still nothing quite like writing things out in long hand.

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